Jonas Villanueva to serve as playing coach
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Newly minted mentor Jonas Villanueva has hinted at embarking on a playing-coach role for iWalk in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

Villanueva, the 2009 PBA Finals MVP with San Miguel, said he has not officially retired from the game and is not closing his door on suiting up with his Chargers team.

“Actually, I’m included in the line-up. The owners are really hoping for me to play but I said no, for now,” said the 36-year-old veteran after iWalk drubbed Hazchem, 90-76, for its first D-League win. 

“I said that it would be hard for me to coach and play at the same time for now. It would be complicated so I just told them to relax and let the kids play at the moment. But when the team is already settled as the tournament progresses, I told them that I may play,” added Villanueva who also admitted getting offers to still suit up in other leagues.

For now, however, the former FEU guard is focused on the drawing board as iWalk’s head coach and nothing more in a bid to take the most out of this oppurtunity given to him by former SMB mentor Jong Uichico.

Earlier this year, Villanueva became a part of the Bataan Risers management in the MPBL where Uichico was named as the new head coach, paving way for his appointment to D-League coaching.

“I’ve been a coach Jong prodigy ever since. One day he told me, ‘Are you done playing? Are you open to coaching? If you really want, I can help you.’ The rest was history. I’m grateful to have coach Jong as my mentor,” Villanueva said. “When you decide to be a coach, it’s hard to find a mentor so I’m just happy to have coach Jong by my side so I’ll focus on this first.”  

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